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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / HAROLD RAMIS

SoCal: the director's cut

October 23, 2009|Mark Sachs

Writer-director Harold Ramis has an enviable list of screen hits to his credit (among them "Groundhog Day," "Analyze This," "Caddyshack," "Ghostbusters" and "SCTV"), but it's the one that got away -- "Year One," just released on DVD -- that still rankles him.

"I just want people to see it," Ramis said. "When it came out in theaters, we got kind of buried by 'Transformers,' and then 'The Hangover' hung over. Also, there was a perception that it was a caveman movie, which it's not; that's only the beginning of the film. I actually think it's in the great tradition of Harold Ramis films -- big theme, low comedy."

And in the great tradition of this column, here's Harold's weekend.

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Familiar turf

My favorite place to stay in L.A. is the Fairmont Miramar on Ocean and Wilshire. I lived in Santa Monica for 20 years, and I always felt the Westside was the healthiest, coolest, most peaceful place to be. I had a young family when I first moved there in 1978, but now I still feel comfortable in the area and like to walk to the beach and along the Third Street Promenade. Venice is fun too.

I used to live west of Montana, and I would ride my bike to the California incline and then along the beach down to the marina and back. And walking at the Self-Realization Center is really nice, as is hiking in Temescal Canyon and Will Rogers State Park.

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Feasting faves

For a nice dinner, I like Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica Canyon. It's a great intimate room, and there's an enclosed patio with a few tables. And the food is tremendous -- any pasta is good. You're likely to see someone well known there, but it's still very discrete. You go there for the food, not to see or be seen. Toscana in Brentwood and Jar are other great go-for-the-food places. And there's a sushi place called Fat Fish on Robertson that's really good. And I still like the Ivy by the Shore.

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Man about town

I might get a meal at the Broadway Deli and then see a movie at one of the theaters. I don't get to Hollywood much anymore unless I'm visiting friends, but I am still always amazed by how cool everyone is and how beautiful the women are. For a romantic evening, I'd go to the Bel-Air Hotel and eat outside, and then get a room. It's very beautiful, the gardens are incredible and the rooms are all different. It's a very secluded hotel, no tourists wandering around. If you're there, it's because you're supposed to be there.

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Malibu memories

I'll always remember taking my son out to Malibu when he was little and there was huge surf that day crashing on the beach. He stood there a while and then turned to me and said, "Daddy, turn it off!" Which reminds me of the time Rodney Dangerfield rented a house in Malibu. He usually stayed at the Sunset Marquis, but for some reason this time he wanted a place right on the beach. I asked him the next day how he liked it and he said, "Man, the ocean -- it just doesn't stop!"

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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